Last night a group of us participated in Ce Soir Noir, an alternative event to Diner en Blanc.
When I read about the event on Vancouver Is Awesome I thought it was a really neat idea because not only was it an inclusive event, but you got to wear black (and being Italian, this is very favorable).
I’ve never been invited to Diner en Blanc but I know people who go. As an outsider it seems like a very exclusive elitist event. As an insider I’m sure it makes you feel very special and important. When I thought about it last night, it’s like Diner en Blanc is a party for the Ashley’s and Ce Soir Noir is a party for the Recess Gang. It’s not that one is better than the other, it’s just that they’re different. I love picnics but it’s something we never get around to doing and personally, I would rather get together with friends, in a casual setting and just hang out. Plus I have plans to through my own personal Diner en Blanc in my backyard, if we ever get around to landscaping it.
The al fresco picnic was held at Crab Park in Vancouver. When Chad and I couldn’t find parking we ended up driving to Canada Place to find a spot and there we spotted all the white dinner guests of Dine en Blanc. It was kind of hilarious that we happened upon them all while trying to get to a “rival” event.
Everyone was asked to bring a non perishable food item for the food bank and Backpack Buddies was there to collect all the goods. They were very happy to receive my Costco sized donation of Chef Boyardee!
Our dining crew for the evening.
Jeremy turned his back on us but I can’t remember why.
Chad was not impressed that I “dragged” him to this event. Chad doesn’t like dressing up so the fact that he “had” to wear black put him in a bad mood. But he quickly got over it because Friends + Beer + Cured Meats + you’re not 18 anymore so stop trying to fight “the man”.
This is my favorite series of shots I’ve ever taken of Chad. He is such a serious man. NOT.
Time for photo op’s!
Everett and Kelsey, spelled in the traditional way.
I’m glad Kelsey agreed to join me in this crazy idea, because if not, we wouldn’t have gone.
Here is the clip from our CTV interview. I’m glad my speaking part was not included…but Chad’s was! You can see me cringing in the background as I anticipate what he is going to say!
Back in July, Chad and I dropped Matteo off at Grandma’s house and boarded a plane to Finland for our friends Ryan and Laura’s wedding. Ryan and Chad met when they were teenagers and have been friends ever since. Quite a few years ago now, Ryan moved to Finland to go to school and there he met Laura.
I always told Chad that if Ryan and Laura were to get married we would have to attend their wedding, not only for the fact that Ryan and Chad have been good friends for so long, but because I wanted to go to Finland! Thankfully both sets of grandparents were very supportive and offered up their services to watch Matteo while we traipsed around Europe.
Our flight to Munich was less than stellar. The woman directly in front of me had a medical emergency 4 hours into our 9.5 hour flight. We thought we would have to make an emergency landing at some point but luckily we didn’t. We are not sure what happened to her but I did see her walk off the plane so I assumed she was OK. It was scary and left me with a horrible feeling for the rest of the trip there.
We had a 5 hour layover in Munich which went by relatively quickly. Chad drank copious amounts of beer and I had an Italian panino, because no matter where you are in Europe, you eat Italian food (at least I do). This also set the tone for the trip, food wise, without me knowing it.
When we finally arrived in Helsinki it was close to midnight. I had barely slept and was exhausted, but everyone was raring to go. I tend to have anxiety my first night somewhere new and after a dramatic flight and the thought of Matteo back home I was a mess. I knew all I needed was a good nights sleep and I would feel different in the morning. We all finally went to bed at 3am because apparently sleep is overrated and I don’t like to listen to what my body needs.
We rented a flat in Helsinki through Airbnb and shared it with our friends Steve and Ashleigh. It had a great layout and immediately felt like home. It was such a great experience and we got such a great deal that we will definitely be using Airbnb more often when we travel.
You can see the couple who owns the flat has their wedding picture up on the wall. The husband, Rope, totally reminded me of Gunther from Friends. Their apartment had such a cute style to it and the pictures of their little daughter and puppy were adorable.
Our first full day in Helsinki was spent sleeping and walking around the city. We found this cute restaurant called Vapiano and sat down for a drink because anything Italian is something we automatically need to check out. We didn’t have time to eat there but we went back a few days later for lunch and it was great. If I lived in Helsinki I would eat there ALL.THE.TIME.
That evening the boys took Ryan, out for his stag, which included dressing him up as a woman and taking him to every bar in Helsinki. Since Laura, who is from Finland, already had her stagette with her girlfriends, she took Ashleigh and me to this great patio where we chatted and drank sparkling wine, something all the young ladies do in Helsinki.
After our drinks she took us up to the roof top bar at the Hotel Torni which had amazing views of the city. It was 11pm at that point and the sun was JUST setting. As you can see in the photos above, the sun was on one side of us and the moon was on the other. It was incredible.
On our second day we checked out the Helsinki market where they sell crafts, souvenirs and food. It’s right off the water so there is always a flurry of tourists coming off cruise ships. They sell a lot of things made from reindeer, since they are so abundant in Finland. I bought a few things for myself and as gifts. I was very tempted to bring home a reindeer hide but I was pretty sure Chad would not be impressed with that idea.
I even decided to sample a dish they called Reindeer Delight which consisted of reindeer sausages, meatballs and veggies.
It was all very tasty! I would definitely recommend trying reindeer meat
After the market we met Laura and Ryan at their townhouse for a family BBQ. They had just finished renovating their home and it was beautiful. Not to mention their backyard is an open forest.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how stunning this is!
Ryan’s family, who live in White Rock, flew out for the wedding along with Laura’s Student Exchange family from Milwaukee. Since Ryan has lived in Sweden/Finland since as long as Chad and I have been together, I’ve never met his family or spent any time with them. They were such wonderful people, it was like we had known each other for years. Laura’s Milwaukee family, Katie and her boyfriend Steve were also really fun to hangout with!
On our third day there we all met up to take a boat cruise of the harbour. But first we had to stop at Robert’s Coffee, a famous Finnish coffee shop for caffeine and the biggest chocolate meringue of my life!
Just a bunch of Canadian’s in Finland.
Ryan and his European style
The Tangs & The Ciavarros
It was a beautiful day for a harbour cruise. There are so many little islands around Helsinki. There is so much to explore!
The building on the left hand side is where Ryan and Laura were getting married the next day. The view from there was gorgeous.
King’s Gate. One of the main entrances to the island of Suomenlinna. We went and visited the island a few days later and it was the highlight of the trip for me.
After the cruise we walked around the city some more before heading to dinner with everyone. The next day was the wedding so everyone went home early to have a good nights sleep.
I know that as we go through life friends come and they go. I can look back and specifically think about periods of time where I was very close to certain people, then our lives changed direction and we were no longer as close as we used to be. So many times we are thrown together because of school or work or organizations we belong to and then those things end and so do our friendships, to an extent.
And while I know all this and I have accepted it with every friendship I’ve ever had that has only lasted a period of time, there is one friendship that my heart still has not gotten over.
It was so long ago now that we parted ways that I honestly don’t know exactly how we left things. I seem to remember feeling as though all of a sudden our friendship wasn’t as exciting as all the new adventures and possibilities that were there for the taking, but then my memories could be wrong.
You try to make the effort time and time again until you realize that they mean more to you then you mean to them. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Clearly since its been probably 4 years and I am still dwelling on it.
Sure I could reach out and try to find out what happened but that would involve a confrontation of some sort and we all know how I like to avoid those. Plus there is also the very real possibility that things are remembered differently and maybe I was at fault for the dwindling of our friendship.
Or its just the fact that we truly did just grow apart and my heart just has to realize that and get over it.
I don’t know why this plagues me as much as it does.
She really meant something to me.
We’ve been on two vacations this summer and I was going to go ahead and post some pictures from those vacations but I realized I haven’t uploaded them yet, so never mind!
Instead I am going to bombard you with adorable pictures of Matteo and Evelyn during one of their play date.
I like leisurely mornings. That means, even if my alarm HAS to wake me up, I’ve scheduled in enough time to obsessively check my phone and pretend to go back to sleep before I have to get up and start my day. However, the thing with having a baby is, this all goes out the window. A screaming child is not going to wait for you to read what so and so wrote on Facebook before you rescue them from baby prison.
This baby led wake up routine was a difficult one to get used to. I need obscene amounts of sleep to feel normal (though having a baby has also taught me that I can actually function pretty well on ridiculously little sleep) so regardless of when Matteo wakes up, I always want to go back to sleep.
When he was small we would attempt to bring him into bed with us for a snuggle and Chad would feel him his bottle. But Matteo is Mr. Independent so snuggling is not on his list of things to do each day. Once Matteo figured out legs were meant for walking and not crab crawling he would spent two seconds in bed with us and then wanted to run around like a crazy person.
However, we have now entered a routine which makes everyone very happy. All Matteo wants in the morning is a clean butt, a bowl of Cheerios, a cup of milk and PBS. Once those four things are satisfied, he will happily sit on the couch and laugh at Curious George while I go back to bed to sleep for a little longer or catch up on all the status updates I missed between 11pm – 6am (you know, because there are so many).
Aside from Matteo being old enough to clean his own butt, get his own Cheerios and milk and turn on the TV, this is pretty much the greatest compromise we have agreed to thus far.
I spent an hour and a half in bed this morning lounging while Matteo watched TV and occasionally brought me books to read him. An hour and a half lounging in bed is the equivalent of winning a million dollars. I feel as though I need to document this momentous occasion so that the next time Matteo wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and won’t go back to sleep I can think back to this glorious morning.